Wolf Hall

Wolf Hall

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Wolf Hall 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 502 reviews.
Eadie More than 1 year ago
I agree with the reviewers who say the writing style is difficult. I'll go one further and say its just atrocious. I consider myself a serious reader, but I'm on my second time trying to read it and just can't get into the story. Its difficult to figure out who the various 'he's' are. Half the time I can't figure out who is talking during a conversation. If I wasn't aware of the history and plot line, it would just be impossible. I'm sure there are other books that cover this material that are much better written and much more enjoyable to read. If it was a new plot line, it might be worth the effort. I'm glad I checked it out of the library.
BillR More than 1 year ago
I almost put this book aside after the first chapter. It was just too confusing. Then I got my aged mind to accept that "he" always refers to Cromwell and it became a page-turner. It is a fascinating look into the minds of Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII, and various other players in the life of Henry VIII, the birth of the Anglican Church, the Protestant reformation, and the Renaissance in general. If you read carefully, Wolf Hall also gives a lot of neat little tidbits about life in the sixteenth century; for instance, the convent washed their bed linens once a year. I hope there will be a sequel that takes the life of Cromwell to its inevitable conclusion.
Milhous More than 1 year ago
When I began reading this book I was worried some of the other reviews would be true, having already purchased the book, but fourtunately, they could not have been more wrong. They have issues with the writing style which could not be better, it is what makes the book so great and even thrilling, making of you a witness in every coversation. I do not see how a so-called "serious reader" would find it difficult; as an english-as-a-second-language-guy trust me, it is not. This is a "quid pro quo" kind of book, the more you give of your attention the more you recieve. For those who question the timeline of the story and the ending I would say it is because it is not a history lesson what the autor is trying to give, but a lesson on human nature, portrayed through Cromwell, about how one can rise to any social status by his own merits, but not without tearing down others´ ambition in the process, for as Mantel says "man is wolf to man", thus giving a double meaning to what the title, Wolf Hall, stands for. The content, not just words, words, but words to digest.
2manybooks2littletime More than 1 year ago
From the reviews- especialy those given by B&N- I thought I would give this book a try. I could not finish the book. I could not get past 75 pages. It started out great but in the second chapter the writers style of writing became too disjointed....so much to the point that it was difficult to tell who was dooing the talking, telling and thinking. There are too many good books out there that you don't have to work so hard at to read and enjoy. I would suggest skipping this one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm glad I didn't let the negative customer reviews dissuade me from reading this, it was a treat. The best historical fiction I've read in years, & I'm a fan of the genre. The idiosyncratic, wry, witty ( and sometimes unsentimental) look at the Tudor period through the sharp eyes of Thomas Cromwell might not go over big with the Philippa Gregory or 'historical' romance novel crowd. If you want pure soap opera that plays fast and loose with facts, watch 'The Tudors' (Showtime channel series). I think, in this case, that what was closer to the truth has been rendered infinitely more interesting in this novel. I look forward to reading the new sequel, which deals with Ann Boleyn's downfall.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A fabulous telling of a story we all know but with such depth and nuance! It is not an easy read for those looking for a typical "costume drama" type of historical novel...you do actually have to be alert and willing to follow a number of characters, many with similar names. Oh, but the writing is priceless and beautiful! The in-depth study of the character of Thomas Cromwell is wonderfully rendered; Ms. Mantel paints him with such wit you have to love him! Those who complained that "you can't tell who is talking" just weren't paying attention. The "he says" is always Cromwell. Once you get that, it is perfectly clear. I loved this book, hated for it to end and now can't wait to read others by Hilary Mantel.
KenCady More than 1 year ago
The book is full of historical information, and no doubt the author has done a good job on that. But, at least in my opinion, one of the reasons for writing historical fiction rather than a straight up history, is that the author can liven things up a bit and provide a human interest point of view. This book has none of that. It might as well be the straight up history as the writing is tedious to follow and the storyline quite dull. Readers who have a knowledge of Cromwell and an interest in learning more will be satisfied, but the general reader will be asleep long before the 500+ pages are finished.
MidgeTN More than 1 year ago
The author has a tedious use of the pronoun, "he". Unfortunately, she uses it extensively to the point that it is impossible to know who is talking or what is going on. There are no descriptions of life in the time period. The book is a conglomeration of dialogue after dialogue with no clear understanding of what is happening, who is doing it or saying it or why. The book is very well researched but it is maddening to attempt to keep up with the discourse with no minimal prompts available to know who is talking.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
WordDoc More than 1 year ago
The decision to make it difficult to determine whose thoughts and statements we are reading at any moment was unwise. I assume that Hilary Mantel chose this ill-advised method of writing--not using quotation marks in conventional ways, not clearly attributing statements in situations where more than two people are inter-acting--but her editors should have convinced her that obscurity harmed her effort to make Thomas Cromwell a sympathetic character. Cromwell has suffered from the historians' who have made Ann Boleyn in a romantic figure; Mantel's essentially sympathetic view of him and her characterization of Ann as a coldly calculating power-seeker, is a plausible corrective. Unfortunately, reading this novel is needlessly difficult. The complex tapestry of Tudor England, embroiled in political questions complicated by religious revolution (this is the period of Luther's break with Rome as well as Henry's effort to assure a peaceful succession by securing an annulment from Katherine, the queen he married after her first husband, Henry's older brother died. Katherine was older than Henry, and she bore him a daughter, Mary, but no son; Henry is himself 43 at the time he begins to seek a way to replace Katherine with a fertile younger wife who can bear him a son. The senior archbishop of England, Cardinal Wolsey, is a consummate politician, and he seeks a way to secure support from continental monarchs the Emperor of Spain, and the king of France. For reasons of their own (which Mantel does not go into) it does not suit them to be persuaded to support Henry's petition. Thomas Cromwell is a confidant of Wolsey, a self-made man in an age obsessed with nobility, a man presented as the child of an abusive father who threatens nobles such as Thomas Howard, the Duke of Suffolk, just by being an upstart commoner. This book provides a visceral introduction to a world whose views of society are based on a presumption that all men are NOT created equal. In a sense, Cromwell, the central character of this novel, embodies the view that comes to replace it in the following century and half and is given voice by Jefferson in the American Declaration of Independence. As an imaginative examination of the collision between these two views, one can only praise Mantel's book. I only wish she had been content with that very difficult task, and had not belabored the reader by an unfortunate stylistic choice that made a hard job harder than it had to be for a thoughtful reader.
copysquirl More than 1 year ago
No, the story isn't new. But the characterization of Cromwell is stunning. There's wit, sarcasm,intelligence, tension, romance and a bit of everything plus it's all set during Henry's chaotic Boleyn affair... i was sad to see it end. Frankly, I wanted to spend more time with the character. As a literary escape on it's own and part of the genre. Last year i totally (oh god was it the year before?) chose Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrel and if it's been longer than year it's been that long between favorites - this is on the same level.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"Wolf Hall" can be a challenge and it's not built to be a fast-paced read--but ultimately, that makes it all the more satisfying. This is simply one of the finest novels I have ever read. it is meant to be savored. What a joy to read sophisticated, emotional, beautiful, intelligent prose--a novel full of complex characters and a fluid blend of the historical and fictional. It is very hard to describe Mantel's style except to say it's like poetry: elegant, lyrical. Does it require some concentration and time? Yes--although once I got used to Mantel's use of dialogue and rhythmns, I found myself moving at a brisk pace. I enjoy "fluff" and "frothy" beach reads as much as the next person; as a college English professor, I rabidly read most anything and take pleasure in all kinds of literature. But whether it's "fluff" or not, I shudder at the mountains of just bad writing: no sense of sentence structure, grammar, or language; no editing; endless repetition of the same cliched plotlines over and over, no originality, and so often coming away from a book wondering how in the world this ever found a publisher. So to find a treasure like "Wolf Hall" making its way into the mainstream is utter bliss for an English-geek like me:)) To be able to step away from a novel and say, "This is brilliant writing" is such a joy, such a treat. No, "Wolf Hall" won't be for everybody's taste and I get that--but if you love a gorgeously written, ultimately satisfying, read that often forces you to stop and linger over a sentence--this is a great choice that also screams for discussion with other readers.
OHARADN More than 1 year ago
At times dense & difficult. I am generally a devourer of books & this one seems to be taking forever to get through. Wanted to love it, don't think I'll tackle the next.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am delighted to find that there are.many others who also abandoned this book before reaching page 100. It lacks narrative tension, without which fiction is useless. People will no doubt differ over the writing style. I found it ponderois. I have rarely read a book so lacking in humor and irony. The historical research is no doubt first class, but I want a story too. This is about a man who is a brilliant and ruthless political operator in a ruthness millieu. There is no real mystery about Cromwell to be explored.
Soul2Soul More than 1 year ago
I have a passion for the historical novels & this is one of the best I have read. Mantel brings the rich and culture altering events of Henry the VIII's rule well into the 21s century - making the characters that defined that area palpable and real without any mundane melodrama. There are no heroes in this story - but flawed people looking to consolidate power however brutally. This novel echoes long after the last page is turned. A must-read for history buffs and those interested in the civilization of the middle ages. Enjoy!
GreyhoundMom More than 1 year ago
What could have been a fascinating look at Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII and a critical time in English history became unbearable. There are few books that I give up on but, after reading 2/3 of it, I just couldn't finish. The characters were a jumble that I didn't care about and couldn't keep straight, the plot seemed to wander and weave every which way. On top of that the author's style of dialog with no quotations marks helped to make it a book unnecessarily difficult read. Maybe it is just my lack of knowledge of these historical events that was the problem but usually I can make sense of a historical piece and come away having learned something. That was not the case here. I know it has gotten excellent reviews and won The Mann Booker award but I would recommend this only to someone who is a real history buff and can keep all the myriad characters straight.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
do not waste your time or money. don't even get this at the library. its horrible. i want my money back. i can't tell if there is a plot. so far it seems like just random thoughts that sometimes turn into an actual conversation. its like the writer has a head injury and isn't making a whole lot of sense. is this some sort of new or creative writing style, if so i hate it. i can't tell who is saying what, is it the narrator? is there a narrator? and why so many paragraphs full of info that i have no idea how or why it relates to the rest of the book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I hadyy been put off by other readers who wrote that the writing style and cast of characters was hard to follow, but decided to make an attempt anyway. I could not put this book down. I like her writing, easy to read and beautiful. And I did not have trouble keeping up with all the characters I highly recommend this book.
amydague More than 1 year ago
I consider myself a serious reader.  I devour 2-3 books a week and find that some of them can be a struggle to finish.  This book, however, is a struggle to even begin.  The writing style is terrible and characters have no personality or voice.  I almost made a game out of how many times I read the words "he says" without any following descriptions. Not one to ever toss a book to the side, I valiantly muddled through 55 pages of the rubbish before finally, and for the first time, just quitting.  I have ready college history books with far more flair.  This is one author that will never again grace my library.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I purcased this book because I was interested in a historical fiction on the Tudors. I found the writing to be hard to follow and the story boring. It ws also difficult to connect with characters.
kieffer More than 1 year ago
Was disappointed with this book. Have read other books about the Tudors that kept my interest. But this is also from Thomas Cromwell's side of things. Put it down not even half way through.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
At first I found this book to be a bit difficult to get into. The biggest thing that stood in my way was the abundance of characters...and the amount of characters with the same names. Even with the list of characters at the beginning, it was hard to keep track of who was who. However, once I got into the book a bit, I was hooked. Mantel's interpretation of the events of this time period was quite interesting. I enjoyed the book very much once I got passed the first bit. I definitely recommend this book, and its sequel, but if you don't plan on reading it regularly you may find it difficult to keep up with the story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The writing style is confusing and the plot hard to follow - even though I have read many books about this time period and know how the "story" is going to end. I would not recommend.
Rosebolo More than 1 year ago
Truly horrible.  Terrible writing style, boring information, difficult to comprehend, weird language...I just can't imagine how this book can be so widely talked about..  It's garbage.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a great book. Real historical fiction. I couldn't put it down. At first it's a little hard to put in perspective but just remember that "he" is always Thomas Cromwell and that some things referred to are explained later in the book rather than before. Well researched and the characters are humanized, even Henry VIII. Can't wait for the rest of the trilogy.